Well, I haven’t quite written a review a week this summer. Sorry about that! But there are a lot of really great books coming out in August and September, so hopefully I’ll get more out there for you. Starting now!
We have here a new graphic novel series from Nathan Hale. You might know of him if you read Rapunzel’s Revenge. That one was written by his sister, Shannon, and drawn by Nathan. This new series is sort of a nonfiction/historical fiction mix, and it’s both written and drawn by Nathan.
Two books come out in a few days, and I had a chance to read them both.
The first is One Dead Spy. It is about the revolutionary Nathan Hale. No, not the author. The spy! That’s right. Nathan Hale, author, wrote these books, and the first one he wrote was about Nathan Hale, spy. Confusing and kind of awesome.
In the first book, we are introduced to Nathan Hale, spy, as he is about to be hanged for spying on the British during the Revolutionary War. To delay his execution, he tells his British captor and the hangman the story of his time during the war. The book ends up as a sort of combo biography and informational book.
The second book, Big, Bad Ironclad!, is still told by Nathan Hale, spy, who is still awaiting execution with his British captor and hangman, but this time he tells the story of the iron plate-covered ships first put to use during the American Civil War. Both the North and the South had their versions, and they were fearsome machines in an era when most ships were still made of wood.
I really enjoyed both of these books. They do a great job of balancing a lot of history with humor (mostly provided by the hangman–he’s a goofball), a little bit of dramatic license, and a fantasy element that allows Nathan Hale, spy, to know about all of history, and delay his execution by telling the tales.
I also love that Nathan Hale, author, embraced his famous namesake. How funny that it is Nathan Hale [spy]‘s Hazardous Tales by Nathan Hale (author). The title of the series has a fun double meaning.
These books would be great for kids who are interested in history. I could see them being a stepping stone to great nonfiction books, such as those by Jim Murphy. I’ll definitely be looking to get these for Room 3.
One Dead Spy
Big, Bad Ironclad!
By Nathan Hale
128 pages each
Genre: History, biography, historical fiction, I guess a little fantasy, too
On shelves August 1, 2012